Monday, November 25, 2019
Cherokee hooper Abbey Vandelune, sidelined early this season with a nagging ankle injury, made use of her practice time last week by working on dribbling skills. Vandelune is expected to return to suit up for tonight’s season opener as the girls travel to Sioux City West.
Photo By Denny Holton


The Chronicle-Times will soon publish a “Winter Sports” special edition, complete with team pictures, stories and schedules of our six area schools - Alta-Aurelia, Cherokee, MMCRU, Ridge View, River Valley and South O’Brien.

The publication will take a pre-season look at girls’ and boys’ basketball and wrestling programs.

We want to thank area coaches for their cooperation in providing us with information and schedules and look forward to hearing from each of them after every game this season.

Please email us results and comments at sports@ctimes.biz.

We will continue to run our popular “Prep of the Week” feature, providing our coaches nominate players and send in pertinent information on Monday mornings. The feature is scheduled to run in our Wednesday editions throughout the basketball and wrestling season.

It’s just another way we can recognize the special efforts and accomplishments of our student athletes. So, as coaches, please take a moment and nominate your cagers and wrestlers for “Prep of the Week” recognition.


As we sift through pages of pre-season info about our local high school basketball teams, we realized our area will feature some darn good basketball match ups this winter.

When it comes to the schools we cover, three girls’ teams appear to have what it takes to make a run come tourney time - MMCRU, South O’Brien and Cherokee. Two boys teams stand out with Cherokee and South O’Brien returning a ton of talent.

We look forward to the girls’ matchup on Jan. 7 at Paullina between MMCRU and South O’Brien, and the rematch in Marcus on Feb. 11. These two clubs are loaded with talent as MMCRU returns four of five starters in sophomore sensations Elli Hilbrands, Taylor Harpenau and Emily Dreckman along with senior Faith Olson. Then a pair of jazzy juniors, 6-1 Jaylen Bork and 5-6 Molly Reuter, will see considerable court time.

South O’Brien is led by three all-conference players in Hannah Dau, Taryn Hintz and Kaylee Jacobs, the top three scorers back from last season. Dau finished led the way in the War Eagle Conference with an 18.4 points-per-game average. Harpenau and Hilbrands were fourth and fifth, respectively, on the league scoring charts.

Another key matchup to watch is on the boys’ court and will come early on Dec. 13 when Remsen St. Mary’s travels to Paullina for what promises to be a dandy. St. Mary’s defeated SOS in OT last year in substate finals to advance to state. Both teams return a bevy of talent to make this one “a do not miss.” The two War Eagle Conference foes meet again in Remsen on Jan. 13.

SOS returns multi-sport talent Jackson Louscher back for his senior season. This talented prep is sure to turn some heads and ankles this season after averaging 20.5 points-per-game last year to lead the War Eagle. And St. Mary’s Spencer Schorg is also back after finishing third in league scoring with a 15.8 average.

We also look at both Cherokee basketball clubs to be relevant in the Lakes Conference this year. The lady Braves lost a couple irreplaceable players in Payton Slaughter and Kassidy Pingel. Both are playing at Briar Cliff and Wayne State, respectively.

That leaves a void, for sure. However, Braves’ Coach Brandon Slaughter has a group of enthusiastic and quick players who will compliment returning junior starters JeMae Nichols and Teagan Slaughter. We’re confident area fans will marvel at the athletic ability and talents of Nichols. She’s a special player. Check out a game and see for yourself.

Then we glance at the Braves who will be led by Northwestern College commit 6-5 Ryan Hurd, an all-conference, all-state talent. The Braves were 8-14 a year and should show significant improvement this winter with a host of talented players to join Hurd. With Hurd on the hardcourt this winter will be seniors Alex Paulsrud, Trevor Lundquist and Kobe Grell, along with sharp shooting junior Brayden Farver and rebounding force Colten Woltman, also a junior.

As we see it, Cherokee could enjoy a very successful season, providing the club plays well together. The talent is undoubtedly present. We’ll see.


—“A basketball team is like the five fingers on your hand. If you can get them all together, you have a fist. That’s how I want you to play.” — Mike Krzyzewski, Duke coach

—“Teams that play together beat those with superior players who play more as individuals.”—Jack Ramsay, NBA coach.

—“To me, when a great band is playing together, it’s amazing for me.”—John Oates, professional musician.